Transgenerational Memories Of The Lager In Herta Muller's Autofiction
Source of Publication
Biography-An Interdisciplinary Quarterly
In this article, I look at contemporary German-Romanian author Herta Müller's use of autofiction from the point of view of minority memory discourse, expanding on the general critical reception of Müller's prose as the articulation of the traumas of Communist totalitarianism in Romania, and also directing attention to the multigenerational mnemonic structures of ethnic German history interrupting Müller's narratives. I trace a trajectory of Müller's interest in the officially repressed ethnic minority past and her exploration of the post-WWII deportations of ethnic Germans to labor camps in Ukraine and their forced relocation by the Romanian Communist regime to the Bărăgan Steppe, in the south of Romania. My analysis focuses on the recursive imagery of the lager (forced labor camp), of the young female inmate, and of the figure of the SS-father as the workings of postmemory. Through intermittent, direct, and oblique references, Müller articulates her own inherited past—in particular, her mother's five-year internment in the USSR. Ultimately, I situate Müller's autofiction within the broader postcommunist memorialization, signaling the absence of minority stories from the increasingly homogenized corpus of national remembering in East-Central Europe.
Arts and Humanities
Haragos, Szidonia, "Transgenerational Memories Of The Lager In Herta Muller's Autofiction" (2021). All Works. 5341.
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